18. Specialty Guidelines

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SPECIALTY BEER
18.1 Fruit Beer [BJCP]
Aroma: The distinctive aromatics associated with the particular fruit(s) should be noticeable in the aroma; however, note that
some fruit (e.g., raspberries, cherries) have stronger aromas and are more distinctive than others (e.g., blueberries,
strawberries)—allow for a range of fruit character and intensity from subtle to aggressive. The fruit character should be
pleasant and supportive, not artificial and inappropriately overpowering (considering the character of the fruit) nor should it
have defects such as oxidation. As with all specialty beers, a proper fruit beer should be a harmonious balance of the featured
fruit(s) with the underlying beer style. Aroma hops, yeast by-products and malt components of the underlying beer may not be
as noticeable when fruit are present. These components (especially hops) may also be intentionally subdued to allow the fruit
character to come through in the final presentation. If the base beer is an ale then a non-specific fruitiness and/or other
fermentation by-products such as diacetyl may be present as appropriate for warmer fermentations. If the base beer is a lager,
then overall less fermentation byproducts would be appropriate. Some malt aroma may be desirable, especially in dark styles.
Hop aroma may be absent or balanced with fruit, depending on the style. The fruit should add an extra complexity to the beer,
but not be so prominent as to unbalance the resulting presentation. Some tartness may be present if naturally occurring in the
particular fruit(s), but should not be inappropriately intense.

Appearance: Appearance should be appropriate to the base beer being presented and will vary depending on the base beer.
For lighter-coloured beers with fruits that exhibit distinctive colours, the colour should be noticeable. Note that the colour of
fruit in beer is often lighter than the flesh of the fruit itself and may take on slightly different shades. Fruit beers may have
some haze or be clear, although haze is a generally undesirable. The head may take on some of the colour of the fruit.

Flavour: As with aroma, the distinctive flavour character associated with the particular fruit(s) should be noticeable, and may
range in intensity from subtle to aggressive. The balance of fruit with the underlying beer is vital, and the fruit character should
not be so artificial and/or inappropriately overpowering as to suggest a fruit juice drink. Hop bitterness, flavour, malt flavours,
alcohol content, and fermentation by-products, such as esters or diacetyl, should be appropriate to the base beer and be
harmonious and balanced with the distinctive fruit flavours present. Note that these components (especially hops) may be
intentionally subdued to allow the fruit character to come through in the final presentation. Some tartness may be present if
naturally occurring in the particular fruit(s), but should not be inappropriately intense. Remember that fruit generally add
flavour not sweetness to fruit beers. The sugar found in fruit is usually fully fermented and contributes to lighter flavours and a
drier finish than might be expected for the declared base style. However, residual sweetness is not necessarily a negative
characteristic unless it has a raw, unfermented quality.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel may vary depending on the base beer selected and as appropriate to that base beer. Body and
carbonation levels should be appropriate to the base beer style being presented. Fruit generally adds fermentables that tend to
thin out the beer; the resulting beer may seem lighter than expected for the declared base style.

Overall Impression: A harmonious marriage of fruit and beer. The key attributes of the underlying style will be different with
the addition of fruit; do not expect the base beer to taste the same as the unadulterated version. Judge the beer based on the
pleasantness and balance of the resulting combination.

Comments: Overall balance is the key to presenting a well-made fruit beer. The fruit should complement the original style and
not overwhelm it. The brewer should recognize that some combinations of base beer styles and fruits work well together while
others do not make for harmonious combinations.

THE ENTRANT MUST SPECIFY THE UNDERLYING BEER STYLE AS WELL AS THE TYPE OF FRUIT(S) USED.
IF THIS BEER IS BASED ON A CLASSIC STYLE (E.G., BLONDE ALE) THEN THE SPECIFIC STYLE MUST BE SPECIFIED.
CLASSIC STYLES DO NOT HAVE TO BE CITED (E.G., “PORTER” OR “WHEAT ALE” IS ACCEPTABLE). THE TYPE OF
FRUIT(S) MUST ALWAYS BE SPECIFIED.

If the base beer is a classic style, the original style should come through in aroma and flavour. Note that fruitbased
lambics should be entered in the Fruit Lambics category, while other fruit-based Belgian specialties should be entered as
Belgian Specialty Beers. Aged fruit may sometimes have flavour and aroma characteristics similar to Sauternes, Sherry or
Tokaj, but a beer with a quality such as this should make a special claim (e.g., amontillado, fino, botrytis). Beer with chilli
peppers should be entered in the Spice/Herb/Vegetable category.

Vital Statistics: OG, FG, IBUs, SRM and ABV will vary depending on the underlying base beer, but the fruit will often be
reflected in the colour.

Commercial Examples:, Bell’s Cherry Stout, Dogfish Head Aprihop, Pyramid Apricot Ale, Pete’s Wicked Strawberry
Blonde, Abita Purple Haze, Melbourne Apricot Beer and Strawberry Beer, Saxer Lemon Lager, Great Divide Wild Raspberry
Ale, New Glarus Belgian Red and Cherry Tart, Magic Hat #9, Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale, Grozet Gooseberry and Wheat
Ale, BluCreek Blueberry Ale, Spanish Peaks Raspberry Wheat

18.2 Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer [BJCP]
Aroma: The character of the particular spices, herbs and/or vegetables (SHV) should be noticeable in the aroma; however,
note that some SHV (e.g., ginger, cinnamon) have stronger aromas and are more distinctive than others (e.g., some
vegetables)—allow for a range of SHV character and intensity from subtle to aggressive. The individual character of the
SHV(s) may not always be identifiable when used in combination. The SHV character should be pleasant and supportive, not
artificial and overpowering. As with all specialty beers, a proper SHV beer should be a harmonious balance of the featured
SHV(s) with the underlying beer style. Aroma hops, yeast by-products and malt components of the underlying beer may not be
as noticeable when SHV are present. These components (especially hops) may also be intentionally subdued to allow the SHV
character to come through in the final presentation. If the base beer is an ale then a non-specific fruitiness and/or other
fermentation by-products such as diacetyl may be present as appropriate for warmer fermentations. If the base beer is a lager,
then overall less fermentation byproducts would be appropriate. Some malt aroma is preferable, especially in dark styles. Hop
aroma may be absent or balanced with SHV, depending on the style. The SHV(s) should add an extra complexity to the beer,
but not be so prominent as to unbalance the resulting presentation.

Appearance: Appearance should be appropriate to the base beer being presented and will vary depending on the base beer.
For lighter-coloured beers with spices, herbs or vegetables that exhibit distinctive colours, the colours may be noticeable in the
beer and possibly the head. May have some haze or be clear. Head formation may be adversely affected by some ingredients,
such as chocolate.

Flavour: As with aroma, the distinctive flavour character associated with the particular SHV(s) should be noticeable, and may
range in intensity from subtle to aggressive. The individual character of the SHV(s) may not always be identifiable when used
in combination. The balance of SHV with the underlying beer is vital, and the SHV character should not be so artificial and/or
overpowering as to overwhelm the beer. Hop bitterness, flavour, malt flavours, alcohol content, and fermentation by-products,
such as esters or diacetyl, should be appropriate to the base beer and be harmonious and balanced with the distinctive SHV
flavours present. Note that these components (especially hops) may be intentionally subdued to allow the SHV character to
come through in the final presentation. Some SHV(s) are inherently bitter and may result in a beer more bitter than the
declared base style.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel may vary depending on the base beer selected and as appropriate to that base beer. Body and
carbonation levels should be appropriate to the base beer style being presented. Some SHV(s) may add additional body and/or
slickness, although fermentable additions may thin out the beer. Some SHV(s) may add a bit of astringency, although a “raw”
spice character is undesirable.

Overall Impression: A harmonious marriage of spices, herbs and/or vegetables and beer. The key attributes of the underlying
style will be different with the addition of spices, herbs and/or vegetables; do not expect the base beer to taste the same as the
unadulterated version. Judge the beer based on the pleasantness and balance of the resulting combination.
Comments: Overall balance is the key to presenting a well-made spice, herb or vegetable (SHV) beer. The SHV(s) should
complement the original style and not overwhelm it. The brewer should recognize that some combinations of base beer styles
and SHV(s) work well together while others do not make for harmonious combinations.

THE ENTRANT MUST SPECIFY THE UNDERLYING BEER STYLE AS WELL AS THE TYPE OF SPICES, HERBS, OR VEGETABLES USED. IF
THIS BEER IS BASED ON A CLASSIC STYLE (E.G., BLONDE ALE) THEN THE SPECIFIC STYLE MUST BE
SPECIFIED. CLASSIC STYLES DO NOT HAVE TO BE CITED (E.G., “PORTER” OR “WHEAT ALE” IS
ACCEPTABLE). THE TYPE OF SPICES, HERBS, OR VEGETABLES MUST ALWAYS BE SPECIFIED. If the base
beer is a classic style, the original style should come through in aroma and flavour. The individual character of SHV(s) may
not always be identifiable when used in combination. This category may also be used for chilli pepper, coffee-, chocolate- or
nut-based beers (including combinations of these items). Note that many spice-based Belgian specialties may be entered in the
Belgian Specialty Category. Beers that only have additional fermentables (honey, maple syrup, molasses, sugars, treacle, etc.)
should be entered in the Specialty Beer category.

Vital Statistics:
OG FG IBUs Colour ABV
Vary depending on underlying base beer

Commercial Examples: Cave Creek Chili Beer, Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale, Stoney Creek Vanilla Porter, Redhook Double
Black Stout, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, Traquair Jacobite Ale, Bell’s Java Stout, Bell’s Harry Magill’s Spiced Stout,
Left Hand JuJu Ginger Beer, BluCreek Herbal Ale, Dogfish Head Chicory Stout, Fraoch Heather Ale, Dogfish Head Punkin
Ale, Dogfish Head Midas Touch, Christian Moerlein Honey Almond, Rogue Chocolate Porter, Mexicali Rogue, Rogue
Hazelnut Nectar, Rogue Chocolate Stout


18.3 Christmas/Winter Specialty Spiced Beer [BJCP]
Aroma: A wide range of aromatics is possible, although many examples are reminiscent of Christmas cookies, gingerbread,
English-type Christmas pudding, spruce trees, or mulling spices. Any combination of aromatics that suggests the holiday
season is welcome. The base beer style often has a malty profile that supports the balanced presentation of the aromatics from
spices and possibly other special ingredients. Additional fermentables (e.g., honey, molasses, maple syrup, etc.) may lend their
own unique aromatics. Hop aromatics are often absent, subdued, or slightly spicy. Some fruit character (often of dried citrus
peel, or dried fruit such as raisins or plums) is optional but acceptable. Alcohol aromatics may be found in some examples, but
this character should be restrained. The overall aroma should be balanced and harmonious, and is often fairly complex and
inviting.

Appearance: Generally medium amber to very dark brown (darker versions are more common). Usually clear, although
darker versions may be virtually opaque. Some chill haze is acceptable. Generally has a well-formed head that is often offwhite
to tan.

Flavour: Many interpretations are possible; allow for brewer creativity as long as the resulting product is balanced and
provides some spice presentation. Spices associated with the holiday season are typical (as mentioned in the Aroma section).
The spices and optional fermentables should be supportive and blend well with the base beer style. Rich, malty and/or sweet
malt-based flavours are common, and may include caramel, toast, nutty, or chocolate flavours. May include some dried fruit or
dried fruit peel flavours such as raisin, plum, fig, orange peel or lemon peel. May include distinctive flavours from specific
fermentables (molasses, honey, brown sugar, etc.), although these elements are not required. A light spruce or other evergreen
tree character is optional but found in some examples. The wide range of special ingredients should be supportive and
balanced, not so prominent as to overshadow the base beer. Bitterness and hop flavour are generally restrained so as to not
interfere with the spices and special ingredients. Generally finishes rather full and satisfying, and often has some alcohol
flavour. Roasted malt characteristics are rare, and not usually stronger than chocolate.

Mouthfeel: A wide range of interpretations is possible. Body is generally medium to full, and a certain malty chewiness is
often present. Moderately low to moderately high carbonation is typical. Many examples will show some well-aged, warming
alcohol content, but without being overly hot. The beers do not have to be overly strong to show some warming effects.

Overall Impression: A stronger, darker, spiced beer that often has a rich body and warming finish suggesting a good
accompaniment for the cold winter season.

History: Throughout history, beer of a somewhat higher alcohol content and richness has been enjoyed during the winter
holidays, when old friends get together to enjoy the season. Many breweries produce unique seasonal offerings that may be
darker, stronger, spiced, or otherwise more characterful than their normal beers. Spiced versions are an American or Belgian
tradition, since English or German breweries traditionally do not use spices in their beer.

Ingredients: Generally ales, although some dark strong lagers exist. Spices are required, and often include those evocative of
the Christmas season (e.g., allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger) but any combination is possible and creativity is
encouraged. Fruit peel (e.g., oranges, lemon) may be used, as may subtle additions of other fruits. May use a wide range of
crystal-type malts, particularly those that add dark fruit or caramel flavours. Flavourful adjuncts are often used (e.g., molasses,
treacle, invert sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc.).

Comments: Overall balance is the key to presenting a well-made Christmas beer. The special ingredients should complement
the base beer and not overwhelm it. The brewer should recognize that some combinations of base beer styles and special
ingredients work well together while others do not make for harmonious combinations.

THE ENTRANT MAY DECLARE AN UNDERLYING BEER STYLE AS WELL AS THE SPECIAL INGREDIENTS USED. THE BASE STYLE,
SPICES OR OTHER INGREDIENTS NEED NOT BE IDENTIFIED. THE BEER MUST INCLUDE SPICES AND
MAY INCLUDE OTHER FERMENTABLES (SUGARS, HONEY, MAPLE SYRUP, MOLASSES, TREACLE, ETC.)
OR FRUIT.

If the base beer is a classic style, the original style should come through in aroma and flavour. Whenever spices,
herbs or additional fermentables are declared, each should be noticeable and distinctive in its own way (although not
necessarily individually identifiable; balanced with the other ingredients is still critical). English-style Winter Warmers (some
of which may be labeled Christmas Ales) are generally not spiced, and should be entered as Old Ales. Clones of specific
Belgian-style Christmas ales should be entered as Belgian Specialty Beers.

Vital Statistics:
OG FG IBUs Colour ABV
Vary depending on base beer but often dark and >6%r

Commercial Examples: Anchor Our Special Ale, Harpoon Winter Warmer, Weyerbacher Winter Ale, Goose Island
Christmas Ale, North Coast Wintertime Ale, Great Lakes Christmas Ale, Samuel Adams Winter Lager

18.4 Classic Rauchbier (Smoked Märzen) [BJCP]
Aroma: Blend of smoke and malt, with a varying balance and intensity. The beechwood smoke character can range
from subtle to fairly strong, and can seem smoky, bacon-like, woody, or rarely almost greasy. The malt character
can be low to moderate, and be somewhat sweet, toasty, or malty. The malt and smoke components are often
inversely proportional (i.e. when smoke increases, malt decreases, and vice versa). Hop aroma may be very low to
none. Clean, lager character with no fruity esters, diacetyl or DMS.

Appearance: This should be a very clear beer, with a large, creamy, rich, tan- to cream-coloured head. Medium
amber/light copper to dark brown colour.

Flavour: Generally follows the aroma profile, with a blend of smoke and malt in varying balance and intensity, yet
always complementary. Märzen-like qualities should be noticeable, particularly a malty, toasty richness, but the
beechwood smoke flavour can be low to high. The palate can be somewhat malty and sweet, yet the finish can
reflect both malt and smoke. Moderate, balanced, hop bitterness, with a medium-dry to dry finish (the smoke
character enhances the dryness of the finish). Noble hop flavour moderate to none. Clean lager character with no
fruity esters, diacetyl or DMS. Harsh, bitter, burnt, charred, rubbery, sulfury or phenolic smoky characteristics are
inappropriate.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Medium to medium-high carbonation. Smooth lager character. Significant astringent,
phenolic harshness is inappropriate.

Overall Impression: Märzen/Oktoberfest-style (see Oktoberfest) beer with a sweet, smoky aroma and flavour and
a somewhat darker colour.

History: A historical specialty of the city of Bamberg, in the Franconian region of Bavaria in Germany.
Beechwood-smoked malt is used to make a Märzen-style amber lager. The smoke character of the malt varies by
maltster; some breweries produce their own smoked malt (rauchmalz).

Comments: The intensity of smoke character can vary widely; not all examples are highly smoked. Allow for
variation in the style when judging. Other examples of smoked beers are available in Germany, such as the Bocks,
Hefe-Weizen, Dunkel, Schwarz, and Helles-like beers, including examples such as Spezial Lager. Brewers entering
these styles should use Other Smoked Beer as the entry category.

Ingredients: German Rauchmalz (beechwood-smoked Vienna-type malt) typically makes up 20-100% of the grain
bill, with the remainder being German malts typically used in a Märzen. Some breweries adjust the colour slightly
with a bit of roasted malt. German lager yeast. German or Czech hops.

Vital Statistics:
OG FG IBUs SRM ABV
1050-1057 1012-1016 20-30 12-22 4.8-6.0%

Commercial Examples: Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen, Kaiserdom Rauchbier

18.5 Belgian Specialty Ale [BJCP]

Aroma: Variable. Most exhibit varying amounts of fruity esters, spicy phenols and/or yeast-borne aromatics.
Aromas from actual spice additions may be present. Hop aroma may be none to high, and may include a dryhopped
character. Malt aroma may be low to high, and may include character of non-barley grains such as wheat or
rye. Some may include aromas of Belgian microbiota, most commonly Brettanomyces and/or Lactobacillus. No
diacetyl.

Appearance: Variable. Colour varies considerably from pale gold to very dark. Clarity may be hazy to clear. Head
retention is usually good. Generally moderate to high carbonation.

Flavour: Variable. A great variety of flavours are found in these beers. Maltiness may be light to quite rich. Hop
flavour and bitterness may be low to high. Spicy flavours may be imparted by yeast (phenolics) and/or actual spice
additions. May include characteristics of grains other than barley, such as wheat or rye. May include flavours
produced by Belgian microbiota such as Brettanomyces or Lactobacillus. May include flavours from adjuncts such
as caramelised sugar syrup or honey.

Mouthfeel: Variable. Some are well-attenuated, thus fairly light-bodied for their original gravity, while others are
thick and rich. Most are moderately to highly carbonated. A warming sensation from alcohol may be present in
stronger examples. A “mouth puckering” sensation may be present from acidity.

Overall Impression: Variable. This category encompasses a wide range of Belgian ales produced by truly artisanal
brewers more concerned with creating unique products than in increasing sales.

History: Unique beers of small, independent Belgian breweries that have come to enjoy local popularity but may
be far less well-known outside of their own regions. Many have attained “cult status” in the U.S. (and other parts of
the world) and now owe a significant portion of their sales to export.

Comments: This is a catch-all category for any Belgian-style beer not fitting any other Belgian style category. The
category can be used for clones of specific beers (e.g., Orval, La Chouffe); to produce a beer fitting a broader style
that doesn’t have its own category or to create an artisanal or experimental beer of the brewer’s own choosing (e.g.,
strong Belgian golden ale with spices, something unique). Creativity is the only limit in brewing but the entrants
must identify what is special about their entry.

The judges must understand the brewer’s intent in order to properly judge an entry in this category.

THE BREWER MUST SPECIFY EITHER THE BEER BEING CLONED, THE NEW STYLE BEING
PRODUCED OR THE SPECIAL INGREDIENTS OR PROCESSES USED.

Additional background information on the style and/or beer may be provided to judges to assist in the judging, including style parameters
or detailed descriptions of the beer. Beers fitting other Belgian categories should not be entered in this category.

Ingredients: May include herbs and/or spices. May include unusual grains and malts, though the grain character
should be apparent if it is a key ingredient. May include adjuncts such as candi caramelised sugar syrup and honey.
May include Belgian microbiota such as Brettanomyces or Lactobacillus. Unusual techniques, such as blending,
may be used through primarily to arrive at a particular result. The process alone does not make a beer unique to a
blind judging panel if the final product does not taste different.

Vital Statistics:
OG FG IBUs Colour ABV
varies varies varies varies varies

Commercial Examples: Orval; De Dolle’s Arabier, Oerbier, Boskeun and Still Nacht; La Chouffe, McChouffe,
Chouffe Bok and N’ice Chouffe; Ellezelloise Hercule Stout and Quintine Amber; Unibroue Ephemere, Maudite,
Don de Dieu, etc.; Minty; Zatte Bie; Caracole Amber, Saxo and Nostradamus; Silenrieu Sara and Joseph; Fantôme
Black Ghost and Speciale Noël; St. Fullien Noël; Gouden Carolus Noël; Affligem Nöel; Guldenburg and Pere
Noël; De Ranke XX Bitter; Bush (Scaldis); Grottenbier; La Trappe Quadrupel; Weyerbacher QUAD; Bière de
Miel; Verboden Vrucht; New Belgium 1554 Black Ale; Cantillon Iris; Lindemans Kriek and Framboise, and many
more


18.6 Wood-Aged Beer [BJCP]
Aroma: Varies with base style. A low to moderate wood- or oak-based aroma is usually present. Fresh wood can occasionally
impart raw “green” aromatics, although this character should never be too strong. Other optional aromatics include a low to
moderate vanilla, caramel, toffee, toast, or cocoa character, as well as any aromatics associated with alcohol previously stored
in the wood (if any). Any alcohol character should be smooth and balanced, not hot. Some background oxidation character is
optional, and can take on a pleasant, sherry-like character and not be papery or cardboard-like.

Appearance: Varies with base style. Often darker than the unadulterated base beer style, particularly if toasted/charred oak
and/or whiskey/bourbon barrels are used.

Flavour: Varies with base style. Wood usually contributes a woody or oaky flavour, which can occasionally take on a raw
“green” flavour if new wood is used. Other flavours that may optionally be present include vanilla (from vanillin in the wood);
caramel, butterscotch, toasted bread or almonds (from toasted wood); coffee, chocolate, cocoa (from charred wood or bourbon
casks); and alcohol flavours from other products previously stored in the wood (if any). The wood and/or other cask-derived
flavours should be balanced, supportive and noticeable, but should not overpower the base beer style. Occasionally there may
be an optional lactic or acetic tartness or Brett funkiness in the beer, but this should not be higher than a background flavour (if
present at all). Some background oxidation character is optional, although this should take on a pleasant, sherry-like character
and not be papery or cardboard-like.

Mouthfeel: Varies with base style. Often fuller than the unadulterated base beer, and may exhibit additional alcohol warming
if wood has previously been in contact with other alcoholic products. Higher alcohol levels should not result in “hot” beers;
aged, smooth flavours are most desirable. Wood can also add tannins to the beer, depending on age of the cask. The tannins
can lead to additional astringency (which should never be high), or simply a fuller mouthfeel. Tart or acidic characteristics
should be low to none.

Overall Impression: A harmonious blend of the base beer style with characteristics from aging in contact with wood
(including any alcoholic products previously in contact with the wood). The best examples will be smooth, flavourful, wellbalanced
and well-aged. Beers made using either limited wood aging or products that only provide a subtle background
character may be entered in the base beer style categories as long as the wood character isn’t prominently featured.

History: A traditional production method that is rarely used by major breweries, and usually only with specialty products.
Becoming more popular with modern American craft breweries looking for new, distinctive products. Oak cask and barrels are
traditional, although other woods can be used.

Comments: The base beer style should be apparent. The wood-based character should be evident, but not so dominant as to
unbalance the beer. The intensity of the wood-based flavours is based on the contact time with the wood; the age, condition,
and previous usage of the barrel; and the type of wood. Any additional alcoholic products previously stored in the wood should
be evident (if declared as part of the entry), but should not be so dominant as to unbalance the beer.

IF THIS BEER IS BASED ON A CLASSIC STYLE (E.G., ROBUST PORTER) THEN THE SPECIFIC STYLE MUST BE SPECIFIED.
CLASSIC STYLES DO NOT HAVE TO BE CITED (E.G., “PORTER” OR “BROWN ALE” IS ACCEPTABLE).
THE TYPE OF WOOD MUST BE SPECIFIED IF A “VARIETAL” CHARACTER IS NOTICEABLE.
(e.g., English IPA with Oak Chips, Bourbon Barrel-aged Imperial Stout, American Barleywine in an Oak Whiskey Cask). The brewer should
specify any unusual ingredients in either the base style or the wood if those characteristics are noticeable. Specialty or
experimental base beer styles may be specified, as long as the other specialty ingredients are identified. This category should
not be used for base styles where barrel-aging is a fundamental requirement for the style (e.g. Flanders Red, Lambic, etc.).

Ingredients: Varies with base style. Aged in wooden casks or barrels (often previously used to store whiskey, bourbon, port,
sherry, Madeira, or wine), or using wood-based additives (wood chips, wood staves, oak essence). Fuller-bodied, highergravity
base styles often are used since they can best stand up to the additional flavours, although experimentation is
encouraged.

Vital Statistics:
OG FG IBUs Colour ABV
Vary depending on base beer but often darker & stronger

Commercial Examples: J.W. Lees Harvest Ale in Port, Sherry, Lagavulin Whisky or Calvados Casks, Dominion Oak Barrel
Stout, New Holland Dragons Milk, Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, MacTarnahan’s Oak-Aged IPA, Le Coq Imperial
Extra Double Stout, Harviestoun Old Engine Oil Special Reserve, many microbreweries have specialty beers served only on
premises often directly from the cask.

18.7 Other Specialty [BJCP]

This is explicitly a catch-all category for any beer that does not fit into an existing style category. No beer is ever
“out of style” in this category, unless it fits elsewhere.
The category is intended for any type of beer, including the following techniques or ingredients:
Unusual techniques (e.g., steinbier, ice beers) Unusual fermentables (e.g., maple syrup, honey, molasses, sorghum) Unusual adjuncts (e.g., oats, rye, buckwheat, potatoes) Combinations of other style categories (e.g., India Brown Ale, fruit-and-spice beers, smoked spiced beers)
Out-of-style variations of existing styles (e.g., low alcohol versions of other styles, extra-hoppy beers, “imperial”
strength beers) Historical, traditional or indigenous beers (e.g., Louvain Peetermann, Sahti, vatted Porter with Brettanomyces,
Colonial Spruce or Juniper beers, Kvass, Grätzer) American-style interpretations of European styles (e.g., hoppier, stronger, or ale versions of lagers) or other
variants of traditional styles Clones of specific commercial beers that aren’t good representations of existing styles
Any experimental beer that a brewer creates, including any beer that simply does not evaluate well against existing
style definitions This category can also be used as an “incubator” for any minor world beer style (other than Belgians) for which
there is currently no AABA category. If sufficient interest exists, some of these minor styles might be promoted to
full styles in the future. Some styles that fall into this grouping include:
Honey Beers (not Braggots) Wiess (cloudy, young Kölsch)
Sticke Altbier Münster Altbier
Imperial Porter Classic American Cream Ale
Czech Dark Lager English Pale Mild
Scottish 90/- American Stock Ale
English Strong Ale Non-alcoholic “Beer”
Kellerbier Malt Liquor

Note that certain other specialty categories exist in the guidelines. Belgian Specialties or clones of specific Belgian
beers should be entered in the Belgian Specialty Category. Christmas-type beers should be entered in the
Spice/Herb/Vegetable Category. Beers with only one type of fruit, spice, herbs, vegetables, or smoke should be
entered in Categories 13.

Aroma: The character of the stated specialty ingredient or nature should be evident in the aroma, but harmonious
with the other components (yet not totally overpowering them). Overall the aroma should be a pleasant
combination of malt, hops and the featured specialty ingredient or nature as appropriate to the specific type of beer
being presented. The individual character of special ingredients and processes may not always be identifiable when
used in combination. If a classic style base beer is specified then the characteristics of that classic style should be
noticeable. Note, however, that classic styles will have a different impression when brewed with unusual
ingredients, additives or processes. The typical aroma components of classic beer styles (particularly hops) may be
intentionally subdued to allow the special ingredients or nature to be more apparent.

Appearance: Appearance should be appropriate to the base beer being presented and will vary depending on the
base beer (if declared). Note that unusual ingredients or processes may affect the appearance so that the result is quite different from the declared base style.
Some ingredients may add colour (including to the head), and may affect head formation and retention.

Flavour: As with aroma, the distinctive flavour character associated with the stated specialty nature should be
noticeable, and may range in intensity from subtle to aggressive. The marriage of specialty ingredients or nature
with the underlying beer should be harmonious, and the specialty character should not seem artificial and/or totally
overpowering. Hop bitterness, flavour, malt flavours, alcohol content, and fermentation by-products, such as esters
or diacetyl, should be appropriate to the base beer (if declared) and be well-integrated with the distinctive specialty
flavours present. Some ingredients may add tartness, sweetness, or other flavour by-products. Remember that fruit
and sugar adjuncts generally add flavour and not excessive sweetness to beer. The sugary adjuncts, as well as sugar
found in fruit, are usually fully fermented and contribute to a lighter flavour profile and a drier finish than might be
expected for the declared base style. The individual character of special ingredients and processes may not always
be identifiable when used in combination. If a classic style base beer is specified then the characteristics of that
classic style should be noticeable. Note, however, that classic styles will have a different impression when brewed
with unusual ingredients, additives or processes. Note that these components (especially hops) may be intentionally
subdued to allow the specialty character to come through in the final presentation.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel may vary depending on the base beer selected and as appropriate to that base beer (if
declared). Body and carbonation levels should be appropriate to the base beer style being presented. Unusual
ingredients or processes may affect the mouthfeel so that the result is quite different from the declared base style.

Overall Impression: A harmonious marriage of ingredients, processes and beer. The key attributes of the
underlying style (if declared) will be atypical due to the addition of special ingredients or techniques; do not expect
the base beer to taste the same as the unadulterated version. Judge the beer based on the pleasantness and harmony
of the resulting combination. The overall uniqueness of the process, ingredients used, and creativity should be
considered. The overall rating of the beer depends heavily on the inherently subjective assessment of
distinctiveness and drinkability.
Base style: The brewer may specify an underlying beer style. The base style may be a classic style (e.g. listed in
these guidelines) or a broader characterisation (e.g. Brown Ale). If a base style is declared, the style should be
recognisable. The beer should be judged by how well the special ingredient or process complements, enhances, and
harmonises with the underlying style.

Comments: Overall harmony and drinkability are the keys to presenting a well-made specialty beer. The
distinctive nature of the stated specialty ingredients/methods should complement the original style (if declared) and
not totally overwhelm it. The brewer should recognize that some combinations of base beer styles and ingredients
or techniques work well together while others do not make palatable combinations.

THE BREWER MUST SPECIFY THE “EXPERIMENTAL NATURE” OF THE BEER (E.G., TYPE OF SPECIAL
INGREDIENTS USED, PROCESS UTILIZED OR HISTORICAL STYLE BEING BREWED), OR WHY
THE BEER DOESN’T FIT AN ESTABLISHED STYLE. THE BREWER MAY SPECIFY AN
UNDERLYING BEER STYLE.

If a classic style is identified, the base style should be recognizable. Classic
styles do not need to be cited (e.g., “maple smoked porter” is acceptable). For historical styles or unusual
ingredients/techniques that may not be known to all beer judges, the brewer should provide descriptions of the
styles, ingredients and/or techniques as an aid to the judges.

Vital Statistics:
OG FG IBUs Colour ABV
Vary depending on base beer

Commercial Examples: Bell’s Rye Stout, Bell’s Eccentric Ale, Lakefront Riverwest Steinbeer, Samuel Adams
Triple Bock, Hair of the Dog Adam, Great Alba Scots Pine, Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown Ale, Divide Bee
Sting Honey Ale, Stoudt’s Honey Double Mai Bock, Rogue Yellow Snow, Rogue Honey Cream Ale, Dogfish
Head India Brown Ale, Zum Uerige Sticke Altbier
 
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